Aibo sees all


Whoa. A little startup called No Contact has created a jacket for women that uses a 9-volt battery to generate a low-amp 80,000-volt charge. If anyone tries to grab ahold of you while you’re wearing this — ouch. There’s a totally wild video of the jacket in action here, and some text from the web site:

Fashion and culture through out history have tended to place women in positions of vulnerability. Female clothing designs historically and in modern times can be physically confining and limiting in mobility such as in corsetry, high heel shoes, dresses and tight clothing. Clothing that prevents protection creates a space around the body which is vulnerable and powerless. We have reclaimed the use of fashion to dramatically reidentify the female body and to protect her physical space and boundaries. Equally as important we are exploring the use of the body as an instrument of disruption of powerlessness and of limiting social dress codes and conventions.

The No-Contact Jacket also challenges existing power landscapes between men and women and alters ideas of human space and boundaries. Protecting and empowering the female body from unauthorized contact will allow for her to inhabit her environment in a more confident way and thus redefine and renegotiate her physical space and identity. The Non-Contact Jacket will begin to shift ideas of perceived female vulnerabilities.

And dig this — to show people that the jacket is “turned on” and active, the jacket has a small area on the right-hand chest side that produces a series of tiny electric arcing lightning-bolts. The video is here, and it’s totally mind-blowing! I mean, sure, the use of this jacket as a mechanism for calling attention to violence against women is cool … but damn, a jacket that has crackling, arcing electricity on display as a design element? How much more insanely l33t can you get? I want one!

Whatever would happen if two women wearing these jackets hugged?

(Thanks to Wired News for this one!)

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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